Every day during fall and spring semesters, 10,000 people walk through or use Brady Commons. More than 30 different UM student groups call the building home, and 400 student groups get mail delivered at the building’s basement.
Brady Commons is in need of more space, people who use the existing space say, but before the University of Missouri Board of Curators agrees to its expansion, it would like to know whether MU students would support it financially.A master plan for the expansion project was approved in September 2003, Michelle Mazza Froese, public relations manager for student auxiliary services, said, but the project began to take on life three or four years before that. Froese said the project was “student driven in terms of ‘there’s not enough space.’” An architect and design firm were selected in February to begin planning the project.
Now the Brady expansion project is moving through the funding stage, Froese said. She said about a third of the funds will come from Campus Dining Services and University Bookstore reserve funds. For the rest of the funding, Froese said a donor would be best, otherwise “we need to go to students and ask if they would support a fee increase.”A cost estimate for a possible expansion won’t be made until the MU officials get the results from a “fee tolerance” survey to be sent this fall.
Matt Sokoloff, a member of the Brady expansion project student communication committee, said the committee didn’t think the Board of Curators would agree to begin the design phase of the project without assurance of student support.
To understand what level increase students will support to expand Brady Commons, a “fee tolerance” survey is planned for September, Froese said. One thousand students will be randomly selected from each class in addition to 1,000 graduate students. The survey will give students certain things to “prioritize,” Sokoloff said, and ask if they would be willing to pay a certain amount.
Sokoloff said the committee will go to the Board of Curators in November with results of the fee tolerance survey, and if the board approves, designs will be drawn.
Brady Commons is a place where students can buy textbooks or shop for gifts at the University Bookstore, grab lunch at the Brady Food Court, make photocopies, meet friends, study, get involved with student organizations or just hang out. There are also places to get a haircut, bowl or play arcade games.
“It’s the center, the hub of campus,” said Froese said. “But it can be better.”
Sokoloff said what is most needed in Brady is “casual space” for students. He said it is overcrowded at lunchtime, and it’s hard to find space to study with groups.
“It’s like you have a house and you have to move all your furniture around so you can have people over,” Sokoloff said. “That’s what we’re continuously having to do at Brady — adjust and shift.”
The Center for Student Involvement in A022 Brady houses more than 30 organizations. Mailboxes for each of the more than 400 student organizations on campus line one wall of the room. Kathy Murray, assistant director for student life, said A022 Brady practically has a life of its own.
“Brady is packed to the rim with support services,” she said. “We are the spirit of Brady.”
Sokoloff said that room for these organizations is also needed within Brady Commons.
“Here at the University of Missouri, we’re very lucky that our students run so much of what happens on our campus,” he said. Sokoloff said that more space is needed for these student organizations to run properly.
Joan Masters, coordinator of Missouri Partners in Prevention, housed in the Wellness Resource Center inside Brady Commons, said that Brady Commons has “niches for different people.” “Always look for something, because it’s here,” Masters said.
Brady Commons was built in 1963 for a campus of 15,000 students. MU’s population has since increased to 26,000 students.